US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced their countries would partner on advanced technologies, clean energy and critical minerals as they strengthen a historical security alliance.
Biden and Sunak signed the “Atlantic Declaration,” which Sunak described as a first-of-its-kind economic partnership on artificial intelligence and other economic and commercial relations, as the British leader made an official visit to the White House.
Britain and the United States’ long-standing military and security partnerships have strengthened amid Russia’s war in Ukraine and China’s more aggressive posture in Asia, but a much-hoped-for free trade agreement has not materialised.
“Our economic partnership is an enormous strength – a source of strength that anchors everything that we do together,” Biden told reporters.
“I know some people have wondered what kind of partner Britain would be after it left the EU,” Sunak said, announcing the new deal.
“I’d say, judge us by our actions. We’re as committed to our values as ever, as reliable of an ally as ever, as attractive an investment destination as ever.”
Sunak, who took office last October after a period of unprecedented political instability in the country, has pushed to strengthen trading ties between the US and UK, despite the bleak prospects for a post-Brexit free trade agreement.
Biden will ask Congress to rewrite the Defense Production Act to treat British suppliers with some of the favourable terms afforded domestic suppliers.
Biden and Sunak launched negotiations on a critical minerals agreement that could allow electric vehicle minerals produced in Britain to count towards tax credits for clean vehicles offered under Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.
Thursday’s discussion also touched on artificial intelligence safety, Sunak told reporters, saying Britain would host the first summit on the issue this autumn to discuss how the risks of AI can be mitigated through internationally coordinated action.
The meeting, their fourth in as many months, came as Western officials sought to ascertain whether Russia was responsible for the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam, which has displaced thousands of people and caused major economic and environmental damage. Ukraine and Russia have traded blame for the dam’s destruction.
Pledging support to Ukraine for “years to come,” Sunak said he and Biden hoped to send a strong signal to Russian leader Vladimir Putin that there was no point in waiting for allied support for Ukraine to drop, and encourage Putin to withdraw his forces.
Reuters – Rami Ayyub, Kate Holton, Trevor Hunnicutt and Andrea Shalal